The good news: Santa Claus will return to Macy’s this year after skipping last holiday season due to COVID-19 restrictions. The bad news: Children may meet with Santa by appointment only.

Macy's announced it is bringing back Santa at its New York, San Francisco and Chicago locations. However, visitors must book appointments to meet with Santa in order to allow for better social distancing protocols.

The visits are available for free throughout the holiday season. According to the Macy’s website, additional safety measures include “face coverings for staff, increased cleaning procedures for all high-touch surfaces,” and “a reimagined Santa experience to allow for safer visits.”

There will also be a virtual experience for those who cannot make it to any of the locations. Macy’s Santaland at Home virtual experience will allow online access from Nov. 26 through Christmas Eve.

The virtual experience allows families to “meet the elves, engage with magical holiday scenes, and play fun games . . . children will meet St. Nick himself in an interactive video,” and “an interactive Santa selfie.”

According to Will Cross, Macy’s vice president of branded entertainment, “We are particularly overjoyed for the return of in-person visits with Santa Claus at Macy’s Santaland in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. With the health and safety of our staff and guests as our top priority, a team of dedicated elves have taken several steps to produce an experience that is fun, whimsical, and one that will create cherished memories long past the season.”

According to MarketWatch, Macy’s stock rose 151.1% for the year to date in 2021.

The Santaland experience will close on Dec. 24. Also around the corner is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Shoppers wait to enter a Macy's department store on Thanksgiving Day. Department store sales fell 0.6 percent in November 2019
Shoppers wait to enter a Macy's department store on Thanksgiving Day. Department store sales fell 0.6 percent in November 2019 AFP / Bryan R. Smith
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